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September 03, 2002 - Image 26

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-09-03

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2B - The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition

V LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

VIEWPOINT
Students achieve victory in Law School case

Incoming University
president will be
strongly pro-student
TO THE DAILY:
I was a little surprised at the article
on the Iowa response to Mary Sue
Coleman's departure, "Iowans say Cole-
man had challenging presidency"
(05/30/02). I find it incomplete and
cast negatively. While I am not familiar
with Students Organizing for Labor
and Economic Equality in Ann Arbor,
Students Against Sweatshops did get
their way. The Daily article did not give
the whole story. Coleman did agree to
the policies that SAS inquired about in
the end. SAS demanded that a delega-
tion be sent to the Worker Rights Con-
sortium founding meeting. Coleman
and Iowa named Ned Bertz, a member
of SAS and the Rights Committee,
Laraine Nelson, the Nursing School
Student Services director and the chair-
woman of the Rights committee, and
Marcella David, a UI professor of law,
would represent UI. SAS found this
unsatisfactory, claiming that the UI
needed to join. Iowa would like to find
out about the consortium before mak-
ing a decision.
Furthermore, the Daily Iowan
reported on May 2, 2000, UI officials
agreed with the Rights Committee's
recommendation in that they will
establish a code for companies licensed
to make UI apparel. Coleman will
appoint members of an advisory com-
mittee to draft the code. Dean Rhodes
said the code would force the compa-
nies to disclose information about the
conditions under which the apparel is
manufactured before the UI would
license its logo. SAS protested any-
way. I am not claiming that SAS's
claims were not legitimate. Conversely,
I think they informed the public and
were mildly successful in their efforts.
However, I think the argument that
Coleman was naive and non-responsive
to SAS's needs is a misperception that
needs to be cleared up.
Coleman is a great leader, politician
and someone that will be missed by
Iowa. I want to let those at the Univer-
sity know that she does work well with
student groups.
JASON GARDNER
Student, University of Iowa

Affirmative action
embarrasses the 'U'
TO THE DAILY:
The University looked stupid,
again on a "60 Minutes" re-run, just
as it did the first time around. The
segment dealt with the University's
use of reverse discrimination in its
admissions practices. I take particular
issue with the televised comments of
Law School Dean Jeffrey Lehman,
who said a diverse cultural mix in a
law school classroom enhances learn-
ing, such as when both blacks and
whites learn together about injustice
by studying racial profiling by
police. I think what Lehman means
to say, simply, is that the classroom
environment becomes more electric
when blacks and whites get together
to discuss racially sensitive issues.
Well, duh! That's hardly news. But
classroom electricity is a side benefit
to learning, not the reason for it.
Establishment of an enhanced learn-
ing environment is no excuse for and
does not justify the existence of a
slanted playing field for students
seeking admission.
"60 Minutes" reported that the Uni-
versity awards a racial minority 20
points toward admission, while giving
only 12 points for a perfect SAT score.
The program went on to report that, in
a recent year, qualified individual
white students stood only a two percent
chance of being admitted to the Law
School while minorities had a near 100
percent chance of admission.
To my mind, affirmative action
outlived its reason and its usefulness
long ago. Continuing such inequities
- particularly in a university setting
where individual diligence, hard
work, a sharp mind, a sense of fair
play andsadherence to rules of com-
mon sense and justice are all sup-
posed to be engendered - just
makes the University, its administra-
tion and the surly Lehman look just
plain stupid. Again!
Maybe it's time for the debate to
be re-opened at the University once
more. Perhaps continuing to shed
light on this subject will help some
people to find their way.
JIM MARINO
Reader

BY AGNES ALEOBUA, JESSICA CURTIN AND BEN ROYAL
In a stunning victory May 14 for pro-affirmative
action and pro-integrationist forces in our society, the
6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the University
Law School's affirmative action policy in a 5-4 deci-
sion. This decision overturns U.S. Judge Bernard
Friedman's segregationist ruling and prevents higher
education from being resegregated in Michigan, Ohio,
Kentucky and Tennessee.
This victory is a direct result of student mobiliza-
tions organized by United for Equality and Affirma-
tive Action, the student intervenor-defendant's
organization, and the Coalition to Defend Affirmative
Action and Integration and Fight for Equality By Any
Means Necessary.
The 6th Circuit decision represents a definitive
departure from the 5th and 11th Circuit's anti-affirma-
tive action decisions in the Hopwood and Johnson
cases. Grutter v. Bollinger is the only case in which
students intervenors put on a full case at trial.
The strength of students' voices in the courtroom
and voices in the street is clearly reflected in a concur-
rent decision written by Justice Clay and signed onto
by Justices Daughtrey, Moore and Cole.
Clay writes, "Diversity in education, at its base, is
the desegregation of a historically segregated popula-
tion and, as the intervenors essentially argue, Bakke
and Brown must therefore be read together so as to
allow a school to consider race or ethnicity in its
admissions for many reasons, including to remedy
past discrimination or present racial bias in the educa-

tional system." Clay, along with the student inter-
venors, recognizes that equality is the fundamental
issue at stake in this case, referring in his opinion
to slavery, the Civil War and Brown v. Board of
Education.
Clay also adopts the intervenors' argument that
racism crosses class lines and thus necessitates affir-
mative action for middle-class black students as well.
Clay writes, "It is naive to believe that because an
African American lives in an affluent neighborhood,
he or she has not known or been the victim of discrim-
ination such that he or she cannot relate to the same
life experiences as the impoverished black person."
Justice Clay concurs with the student intervenors'
assertion that standardized tests are racist and sexist:
"Using a lottery for all students above certain thresh-
old figures for their GPA and LSAT is in no way
'race-neutral' as reflected in the record. For example,
the record indicates ... that performance on tests such
as the LSAT and the SAT correlates with an appli-
cant's race and gender. In other words, the record indi-
cates that LSAT scores are neither race-neutral or
gender-neutral criteria for admissions decisions."
Finally, Clay sides with the intervenors' long-time
assertion that abandonment of affirmative action
would result in the resegregation of higher education:
"Indeed, on the record before us, any purportedly race-
neutral policy could result in a de facto segregated law
school, the deleterious results of which have long been
known by society and rejected by the Court."
The resegregationist Center for Individual Rights
has already announced that it will appeal the decision.

We will repeat our victory at the coming Supreme
Court showdown.
Students who have been a part of this movement
have already done what we were told was impossible.
We have successfully defended affirmative action in
the conservative federal court system and prevented
higher education from being resegregated in Michi-
gan, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky. We achieved this
historic victory by organizing and mobilizing the
forces in our society that stand against racism and
believe in the vision of the Civil Rights Movement of
an equal and integrated society.
The next steps of our movement will be to organ-
ize a national petition campaign to collect 1 million
signatures and to organize a National March on Wash-
ington to coincide with the Supreme Court hearing of
the University cases. On May 31 and June 1 there was
a Conference of the New Civil Rights Movement
which was held at the University to plan the petition
campaign and the March on Washington. Rev. Jesse
Jackson said he will attend the conference. Please
check the BAMN website (www.bamn.com) for con-
ference details and updates about how you can
become a part of our generation's Brown v. Board of
Education and the new civil rights movement.
Aleobua is an LSA senior Curtin is a Rackham student
and Royal is a graduated senior: The writers are members
of BAMN and student intervenors in Grutter

The failures of affirmative action at the 'U'

BY JUSTIN WILSON
I am more than my race, class and
gender. In fact, I'd venture to say that
my race, class and gender probably play
a small role in who I truly am. Yet in the
eyes of the University, I'm just another
check in a box - another white, mid-
dle-class, male applicant. But does a
couple of check marks measure what I
bring to campus? No, and to think so is
to disrespect the very heart of human
dignity. We are all much more than just
the color of our skin.
Yet according to the May 14 ruling,
which upheld the Law School's use of
racial preferences and the 1978 Bakke
decision, that is all I am - a nameless,
faceless, white guy.
I do not deny that America has a
checkered history and I do not deny that
enormous social inequality exists. I also
believe that something must be done to
resolve it, but I don't see how we, as a
nation, can reconcile affirmative action
and the ultimate goal of a color-blind
society, when affirmative action is a
program that by definition makes judg-
ments based solely on a person's race.

How can just ends be achieved by
unjust means? Especially when those
means do not address the root of the
problem or provide the best possible
solution.
In the '50s and '60s, America decid-
ed that judging anyone by their race was
inappropriate, and under Title VI of the
Civil Rights Act, illegal. But that is
exactly what the 6th Circuit's decision
allows and the University practices.
Racial preferences in university admis-
sions stand as the last government per-
missible measures that judge people by
their race. How can this stand as a com-
pelling government interest? The gov-
ernment is willing to allow unjust
means to accomplish just ends. That is,
the 6th Circuit feels that patently racist
admissions policies are A-ok, so long as
they promote the dubious concept of
academic diversity.
This is an important distinction,
insofar that the May 14 decision rejects
the use of affirmative action to remedy
past social injustices or promote social
equality of any sort. Under the Bakke
decision, Justice Powell said that racial
preference may only be used as one of

many "plus" factors in admissions and
only to create academic diversity.
As a result, the University claims
that the necessity of a "critical mass" of
minorities, which might as well be a
quota system, is a compelling govern-
ment interest. They contend that the
presence of minorities in a law school
positively benefits the entire institution.
And they also hold that they must admit
a "critical mass" of minorities to pre-
vent the others from feeling isolated or
lonely.
The problem is that academic diver-
sity is a sham and only a cover for the
University's hidden social justice agen-
da. Never once has an administrator
uttered a word about affirmative action
and social equality. To do so would be
legal suicide, as their cover-up might be
exposed and ruled unconstitutional
under Bakke. Instead, they all toe the
diversity line. It is not only disingenu-
ous to the community and legal system,
but disrespectful to the very dignity of
minorities.
A Coalition to Defend Affirmative
Action and Integration and Fight for
Equality By Any Means Necessary

member once said, "Minorities are not
like trees - they can't bring us here to
make campus a little prettier." But that
is exactly what the administration is
doing. The diversity defense does noth-
ing but use minorities to make campus
a little more colorful.
The sad fact is that for all the efforts
the University has undertaken to create
diversity, campus remains largely segre-
gated. From separate but equal resi-
dence hall lounges to segregated
so-called multi-cultural student groups,
the University community has failed in
fostering true diversity.
This raises a much broader ques-
tion: What is diversity?
According to the Law School, it is
little more than an applicant's race, class
and gender, but we are much more than
that. But the University largely ignores
' an applicant's true diversity, insofar that
real diversity runs counter to the hidden
agenda of admitting a large number of
minorities to promote social justice.
There is no other reason explaining why
the University ignores so many other
factors. In his dissent, Justice Boggs
points out that the University complete-
ly disregards many other critical factors
influencing diversity such as religion,
geographic region or political persua-
sion, at the same time, Jews, Michigan-
ders and liberals are all
over-represented. The May 14 ruling
supporting the University's idea diversi-
ty is insulting and degrading. It is divi-
sive and runs counter to the very idea of
equality.
Wilson is an LSA aduate and forer
Editor in Chief of The Michigan Review.

Affirmative action is an inappropriate
tool for achieving diversity
TO THE DAILY:
It is now clear to me, as it should be to every other member of the Univer-
sity community, that affirmative action is headed for a constitutional show-
down in the highest court of the land. The time has finally come to settle this
issue once and for all. Is affirmative action constitutional or is it not? I think
not!
It is obvious that many students and members of the University adminis-
tration support affirmative action. They argue that it is the only way to main-
tain an amalgamation of diversity. I urge those of you who have made up your
mind to give serious consideration that affirmative action may not be the best
possible way in which the administration can increase diversity. I beg mem-
bers of the administration to reconsider the spending of millions of dollars to
defend affirmative action and consider other options. For those of you who
have not yet made up your mind, I encourage you to consider the argument
against affirmative action.
As Pat Buchanan would put it, "the University of Michigan has neither
the moral nor the Constitutional authority to discriminate against applicants."
This certainly includes reverse discrimination. "A true respect for civil rights
requires we put an end to all forms of discrimination, including reverse dis-
crimination. This means abolishing set asides, mandatory admittance and
quotas." The practice of rewarding extra points on an application for race is
an inappropriate way to judge an individual's academic potential and an insult
to minority intelligence. The University should abandon race as a factor in
favor of a color-blind admissions policy.
The University's argument is heavily based on their preference for diversi-
ty in the student body. While the administration has made a strong and con-
vincing case for diversity, they have ultimately failed to consider other
options for achieving this. These options include more classroom space to
increase the overall size of the student body to facilitate more minorities, tar-
geted outreach programs to encourage minority student interest in the Uni-
versity and University charter schools in developing minority areas. It is also
a gross misuse of student funds to pursue this unfair policy through the
courts. The millions spent and the millions more that will be spent could have
been used to reduce the cost of tuition so that more financially disadvantaged
students could afford to attend the University - the vast majority of whom
are also minority students.
It is with this in mind that I implore the University to affirmatively aban-
don this policy of reverse discrimination. There is no constitutional basis for
a public institution, such as the University to take an active role in influenc-
ing our society in this way. Therefore, there is no compelling authority for
administrators, regents or the University president to support affirmative
action.
NICK WAUN
Candidate for the University Board of Regents

COLEMAN
Continued from Page 13
School of Graduate Studies to show her dedication
to the social sciences and humanities and to allay
any fears'of scholars that they are being neglected.
Coleman has a superb model to follow in this
respect. Bollinger, alt ough a legal scholar, made
the improvement of the humanities and the social
sciences one of the central goals of his tenure at
the University.
At the beginning of his tenure, he made himself
accessible to professors. Coleman must seek to
balance the dual needs of strong research and
scholarship to maintain the University's position at
the forefront of every field.
Simultaneously, Coleman must recognize the
importance of undergraduates. While there is legit-
imate concern that Coleman could devote too
much energy to the pursuit of research dollars and
emphasize research, at the University of Iowa
Coleman proposed a comprehensive plan for the
university's undergraduate population. She must

letter signed by 47 faculty members expressing
their concerns with the search.
The regents' devotion to secrecy has placed
Coleman in a difficult position-when she
assumes the presidency. The University commu-
nity is unfamiliar with Coleman and she must
work quickly to make herself known to both stu-
dents and faculty.
Her unfamiliarity with campus leaders and
administrators will extend the transition period
and create uneasiness during this gentle process.
THE SHADOW OF BOLLINGER
Coleman will be responsible for completing
many of the projects that Bollinger organized
support for and began. The renovations to
numerous buildings on Central Campus, the
Life Sciences Initiative and the spirited defense
of affirmative action are all projects that will
continue to be be associated with Bollinger.
Coleman will be constantly judged and com-
pared to the former president. Although there
were many contentious issues and many faculty
and students harbor bitter feelings about the

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